NHL Coach Sends Message to Critics of Player Who Refused to Wear ‘Pride’ Jersey: ‘Provy Did Nothing Wrong’

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Flyers coach John Tortorella defended Russian defenseman Ivan Provorov’s decision to cite religious beliefs as his reason to boycott the team’s pregame Pride celebration.

“Provy did nothing wrong,” Tortorella said Thursday. “Just because you don’t agree with his decision doesn’t mean he did anything wrong.”

Before Tuesday’s game against the Anaheim Ducks, the 26-year-old Provorov sat out warmups, during which the Flyers wore Pride-themed jerseys and used sticks wrapped in rainbow tape.

Provorov is Russian Orthodox, and said after the game that he respected “everybody’s choices.”

“My choice is to stay true to myself and my religion. That’s all I’m going to say,” he said, declining to answer follow-up questions.

Tortorella said had “very healthy” conversations with Provorov, general manager Chuck Fletcher and select players days ahead of the game. Provorov’s decision was not a surprise to the organization.

The first-year Flyers coach also said he never considered benching Provorov.

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